Olive Oil in Sicily: An Autumnal Tour
October 27 – November 1 at the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school
November 1 – November 7, small group tour of southeastern Sicily
Guests are welcome to do one or the other, or both weeks.
In case I haven’t made myself clear, I am in love with Sicily! Yes, it’s a romance, pure and simple. I just got back from two weeks touring the southeastern corner of the largest island in the whole Mediterranean, preparing for our autumn trip, and it just confirmed for me, as if confirmation were necessary, that this place is as close as you can get to terrestrial paradise.
The first week of this olive oil focussed tour will be at Regaleali, home of the great Tasca d’Almerita winery, for five days at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School, where we’ll join our hostess Fabrizia Lanza, to sample olive oil and learn to cook with it, plus taste wine, see how the best oil is made, sample fresh sheep’s milk ricotta and the range of great Sicilian cheeses, cook up a storm, dine and wine and make new friends. You can find out more and register at http://www.annatascalanza.com/images/PDF/OliveOil-Jenkins-Ing.pdf). At the end of our Regaleali visit, we’ll go on for another six days, hitting the high spots of this fascinating southeastern region of Sicily—Piazza Armerina, Ragusa, Modica, Marzamemi, Siracusa, ending high on the slopes of Mt. Etna, that brooding volcano that provides such mineral-rich soil for wine, citrus, olives, and the many other delicious products that make this part of Sicily a gastronomer’s goal. Departure will be from Catania airport (frequent flights daily to Rome) on November 7. Find out more about this off-the-beaten-path tour at: http://www.foodartisans.com/contact.php.
You may, if you wish, do just the Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school piece, or you may join us just for our off-the-beaten-path tour. Best of all, you may do both! We’d love to have you on board. What will we be doing? At the cooking school, we’ll have classes with the very talented Fabrizia (daughter of the late Anna Tasca, who founded the school), visit an olive orchard and a mill to see exactly what goes into the production of fine extra-virgin, we’ll pay a call on a cheese-maker who’ll be offering up tastes of his just made ricotta, stroll through a nearby hill town, and taste and taste and taste olive oil until we really understand the difference between good and bad, and between various categories of good.
In the traveling part of our tour, we will visit the fabulous Roman villa in Piazza Armerina, taste one of Sicily’s greatest oils with the man who makes it (fresh off the trees, at that), enjoy lunches and dinners with chefs and cooking teachers of all kinds, be introduced to Sicilian couscous (very different from what you may know from North Africa), spend time in a Baroque palazzo overlooking a vast and ancient piazza with the barone himself, have several cooking classes, two with acclaimed chefs and one with a fine home cook, sample Italy’s finest ice cream, go to one of the last great open-air markets in Italy, taste some great wines from the area around Siracusa and from the slopes of Mt. Etna (Etna wines are just beginning to be understood and appreciated by American wine lovers), and whatever other delights I can devise for you between now and next fall. As a last touch, I want to emphasize again that guests are not obliged to do the entire two weeks. If you prefer, you may simply join us at the cooking school in Regaleali, or meet up with the tour in Piazza Armerina (we can make arrangements to get you there). Or, to get a real sense of why I think this is the most magical part of Italy—why not do both? If you have questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.